Congratulations to Rep. Eliot Engel on being re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Engel has long been a supporter of healthcare issues and I hope he will continue to do so, particularly issues that impact people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease has become a public health crisis for our country, costing $277 billion this year alone in healthcare costs. Two-thirds of this cost is being borne by Medicare and Medicaid and much of the remainder is being paid out-of-pocket by individuals and families. Our nation’s healthcare infrastructure is being strained by this burden, which is set to increase significantly in the next few years.
A national public health crisis calls for a coordinated public health response. Rep. Engel supports increased funding for Alzheimer’s research. He knows that while researchers seek a cure, the challenges of families who are currently struggling with this devastating disease must also be addressed. I commend him for co-sponsoring the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, which was passed by Congress on Dec. 19. will establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence to promote early detection and diagnosis and create clearinghouses of effective interventions.
If BOLD had been in place during my mother’s journey through dementia, I know that she would have had a longer, more comfortable life. With early detection and diagnosis and access to information and resources, Iwould have been able to proactively plan her care and prevent some of her hospitalizations.
The challenges of Alzheimer’s must be addressed if we hope to reduce the burden on our families and our country.